I finally saw Terry Gilliam’s very unreleased movie, “Brazil” which is a fantastic film. It’s a shame that it had gotten help up from being released widely in the US. There’s a whole story behind this, which included Gilliam taking out a full page ad in Variety which just asked the studio head when the movie was going to be released, since it has been relased internationally and done very well.
Obviously this is a movie that a lot of Americans probably would have had trouble with, since it didn’t show an idyllic place, but a messtopia in the future and a governmental nightmare. Unfortunately, a lot of the film has come true 16 years after it was made.
What does boggle my mind is why the film was never released and why so many films are never released or given a very small release only in the top 15 cities or what have you. Film distribution is definitely the platypus of the performing arts world, since there is very little logic to it and it’s usually always a comittee decision. I guess it’s a group or single individual that sit around and try and decide what the public wants to see. It isn’t governed by the stars involved or the budget or anything rational. It’s all just a guess.
Distribution is the reason that movies like “Lost in Translation” and “21 Grams” aren’t at every cineplex in the nation and a piece of junk like “The Cat in the Hat” is. It’s the biggest hurdle in filmmaking that there is for an independent director. A lot of people hear that making a film is the hardest part in making a film, but that pales in comparison to actually getting the movie out there to be seen. Something like 1% of all the films made get distribution. It’s really a shame too, since, if there was more of a network, then ther would be more films and there is certainly a good amount of arthouse or small, independent theaters across the US.
Someday all this may change, but for the time being, it’s always funny to see someone like GIlliam get the upper hand and win a bunch of critic awards for a film that was never released domestically.